Take a Walk: Step Into a Healthier Family in 2014

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Sarah with son Dylan and pets Sheeba and Tyson.

Sarah with son Dylan and pets Sheeba and Tyson.

By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

I love the movies. There are so many magical events that happen in films that are so much more glamorous than in regular non-movie world. For instance, did you know that in movie world if you have a baby you are instantly transformed to having a healthy and fit post-baby body immediately after giving birth? Your kids are angels. And your dogs? They might as well model for all of the pet training videos out there. For those of us who live in the regular world, we know this is not the case.

So how can you continue to have a healthy lifestyle when kids and pets demand more of your attention? Take a walk. We do this when we need to calm down, get our thoughts together or just need a moment to ourselves. Taking a walk gets our minds in great shape. So why not use this practice to get ourselves in better physical shape, too? Walking doesn’t seem to be that complex, but you can build a better bond with you and your family by making the commitment to this simple daily task.

Find a routine – Sure, it’s winter. As long as the weather is acceptable for a comfortable walk (remember that if it’s too cold for you it is probably pretty cold for your pets), then go ahead and take one. Be consistent in the time that you choose to take your walks. Do your dogs do well with a brisk morning walk? Are the kids a little rowdy after school? Life will get in the way on many occasions, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t stick to the exact same routine each day. You will probably find that your dogs are sitting by the door waiting to go out at the time you normally walk though.

The Easy Walk Harness gives you and your dog a better walk!

The Easy Walk Harness gives you and your dog a better walk!

Start Slow and Be Patient – You may not think of walking as a vigorous exercise. As long as you aren’t hiking up Everest, it probably won’t be, but it can still be a great workout! Don’t be surprised if you are a little out of breath if you haven’t taken a long walk in quite some time. Start slowly. Remember that your dogs will need to learn how to walk without dragging you and your family members down the sidewalk. We have the Gentle Leader® Headcollar and Easy Walk® Harness available to help! If your dog is just having issues with pulling, the Easy Walk Harness is a great tool to prevent this unnecessary habit during walks. Sheeba, our Shiba Inu, is notorious for pulling. As if walking a stroller and two dogs through the neighborhood wasn’t crazy enough! She uses the Easy Walk Harness, and our walks are no longer a pull fest! If you are trying to correct other behaviors like lunging and jumping, the Gentle Leader will be a great tool to use. Make sure you are getting the proper fit with both options.

Incorporate the Family – Remember that if you haven’t been taking regular walks, your dogs and your kids probably haven’t either. Don’t get upset if it takes quite a few walks with the dogs before they seem to really be well behaved during the strolls.  If you have an infant or toddler, make sure to pack enough of your baby supplies to ensure you won’t have to just walk right back home. For older children, ask them about their day. Walks can be a great time to bond with your family. Maybe it’s just me, but walking while trying to text or check my social media accounts usually ends up in me tripping over a stick and breaking something. Walking with your family can guarantee a technology-free moment to bond and enjoy each other.

We hope that you have a healthy and memorable 2014. If you have any photos of your pet that you feel could use a wellness makeover this year, check out our Best Moments Photo Contest on our Facebook page for a chance to win a great wellness prize package.

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